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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Way Things Go aka Der Lauf der Dinge [Blu-ray]


(Peter Fischli, David Weiss, 1988)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: T&C Film AG

Video: Icarus Films



Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 0:31:14.581

Disc Size: 7,139,664,269 bytes

Feature Size: 7,031,353,344 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.80 Mbps

Chapters: 6

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: April 14th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1642 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1642 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)






DVD included





Description: Inside a warehouse, Swiss artists Peter Fischli (b. 1952) and David Weiss (1946—2012) built an enormous, precarious structure 100 feet long made out of common household items—tea kettles, tires, old shoes, balloons, wooden ramps, etc. Then, with fire, water, gravity and chemistry, they created a spectacular chain reaction, a self-destructing performance of physical interactions, chemical reactions, and precisely crafted chaos worthy of Rube Goldberg or Alfred Hitchcock.

Called "the merry pranksters of contemporary art" (The New York Times), Fischli and Weiss collaborated for 33 years, drawing worldwide notoriety and praise for taking on big questions with humble materials and a tongue-in-cheek manner. THE WAY THINGS GO, newly restored and now on Blu-ray for the first time, remains their most acclaimed and beloved work.



The Film:

The Biograph anthology is capped by "The Way Things Go," an astonishing tribute to Rube Goldberg by Peter Fischli and David Weiss. This could well be the most exciting film of the summer, not because of special effects, but because of 30 minutes of continuous cause and effect. A suspended and unwinding trash bag sets a tire into motion and from there on, the filmmakers go chain-reaction crazy with fire, water, foam, popping corks, balloons, sparks, tires, balls, cylinders and enough examples of balance, gravity, momentum, inertia and chemical reactions to turn an unsuspecting viewer into a Mr. Wizard wannabe. The beautifully photographed film is all one take (though it looks as if there might have been a little cheating here and there) and the contraption reportedly measured more than 100 feet. In any case, there's more tension and suspense here than in any of Hollywood's summer blockbusters -- the fire effects are almost as good as "Backdraft's," but on a considerably smaller budget. You'll hold your breath more than once watching this slow dazzler, just waiting for the expected to happen, and then you'll realize that's just one more reaction created by the filmmakers. Maybe they could develop a road show?

Excerpt from The Washington Post located HERE

This supremely demented documentary by two German artists presents a continuous chain reaction than runs for the length of the film. Old tires, ladders, shoes, flames and explosions trigger the next piece of precariously balanced junk. This art-piece is greatly appreciated by nerds for the amazing chemistry and physics required to keep self-generated chaos on track. Science teachers play the video for lessons in equilibrium and causation, while artists roll the film at parties for an irresistible and mesmerizing spectacle. I like it for the illustration of the never-ending chain reaction that seems to take over the world. A Mr. Wizard science demonstration that takes on its own life.

Excerpt from TrueFilms located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Way Things Go on Blu-ray from Icarus Films looks rich with texture in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The 1/2 hour short is transferred to a puny 7 Gig and we get a middling bitrate. It looks quite consistent and clean - no doubt a strong replication of the original. It is a very pleasing 1080P presentation. Colors look true with tightness and there is no noise. This Blu-ray video is pleasant even if the original production doesn't lend itself to more dynamic visuals.














Audio :

Audio is in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono track at 1642 kbps. But the only sounds are the chain-reaction process - clips, sliding, some fire and small explosions... no score or music of any kind. And hence, no need for subtitles as there is no dialogue at all. My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc.


Extras :

Nothing but a, second disc, DVD of the film included in the package.



What an odd Blu-ray release. There have been a lot of changes in the world since 1988, and I don't think time has been favorable to The Way Things Are. There are 100's of similar 'chain-reaction' videos now on YouTube. It seems the Blu-ray value is limited here with the feature running only a half hour. It IS less than a dollar a minute.
Strangely, it is something I would watch again - as it is kind of relaxing and my sons and their friends were hypnotized by it. So, from that standpoint it is kinda cool and I can appreciate the immense work put into the process. Obviously, this is not for everyone. To each his own.

Gary Tooze

April 8th, 2015


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze






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